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Writing Your Own Performance Review? Be Positive!

Writing Your Own Performance Review? Be Positive!

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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, Online Career Tips

At this time of the year, many supervisors face the annual rite of writing performance reviews for their employees. In some cases, these reviews will determine whether or not there’s a bonus in their next paycheck.

In some businesses, the task of writing performance reviews begins with the employees. Reviewing someone else’s performance is not easy; reviewing your own performance is even tougher.

So where to begin? And what to say?

Remind Your Manager of the Highlights of Your Work

Alison Green, writing in U.S. News and World Report, says, “Writing a self-assessment is a chance to remind your manager about key highlights of your work that she might not otherwise have at the forefront of her mind as she sits down to assess your performance.”

“You are more intimately familiar with the nuances of your work than your manager likely is,” Green adds. Also, many managers will take language directly from your self-assessment and put it into their own evaluation of you.

Syntax training professional Lynn Gaertner-Johnson suggests starting “with a strong, positive opening statement.” For example, you could say, “I met or exceeded all my goals this year, in addition to taking on the unexpected role of interim supervisor.”

Provide Specific Details about Your Workplace Performance and How You Reached Goals

Be sure to provide specific details in your performance review about what you did in relation to meeting goals. Explain what reaching those goals entailed. An example that Gaertner-Johnson provides is “I achieved my goal of rolling out a new payroll manual. To do so, I gathered all the procedures from the six plants, rewrote and edited them, and assembled them in both hard copy and online manuals, which are now available throughout the company.”

Gaertner-Johnson warns that such a response could evoke a “So what?” from your supervisor. To avoid that reaction, she advises describing how what you did improved your organization, such as:

  • How the new manual has helped your colleagues better perform their jobs
  • How the manual contributed to better financial reports
  • How the manual made your team or department more efficient

If possible, use figures and data to back up your claims.

If you have not met a specified goal, acknowledge that in the middle of your review and cite what you have done toward that goal.

Above all, do not blame anyone else for your inability to meet a goal. Use a passive verb construction to avoid blame, such as: “I did not achieve my goal of meeting our international partners because funds for travel were not approved.”

Your Performance Review Should End with a Memorable Conclusion

Take a tip from Madison Avenue and conclude your personal performance review with “a strong, positive statement” that will stick in the mind of your reviewer when he or she sits down to write your performance review. Remember, money could be riding on that evaluation.

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